All posts by Caroline

I am Mum to Ewan James, born June 2010, and Tessa Rose, born at home, March 2013. As my greatest teacher, my children have taught me to view the world through fresh, questioning eyes, as well as to trust my instincts. Ewan and Tessa have inspired me to write about this most beautiful journey of all, parenting, a glimpse into what we value most in life; spending time together as a family in nature, travelling, forest school and life learning. I am proud to share the journey with you…

My main occupation is mother and home educator to my two young children. My love of the outdoors and nature has led me down a new and exciting career path, as I am now training to be a Forest School practitioner, with the support of my children’s playgroup. My interests include walking, yoga, writing and worldwide adventure travel with my family.

On my blog I write about my experiences of natural parenting and learning outside of the classroom. Topics I write about include continuum style parenting, such as long-term breastfeeding, baby-wearing, elimination control and bed-sharing, as well as worldwide travelling, outdoor learning and adventures with children.
My children inform all my writing, they are my greatest teachers, continuing to amaze, delight and humble me every day. I find myself writing on a wider range of topics as my children and my parenting philosophy mature. Current growing areas of interest include forest school, nature inspired and outdoor learning and mindfulness. I find the process of writing rewarding and stimulating, a creative outlet where I can express my growing self. Online social networking has helped me develop an online community of like-minded people, who I enjoy sharing my work with.
I write for the Green Parent, Juno, The Mother and La Leche’s Breastfeeding Matter’s magazines. I have also written for ‘Mothering’, the online parenting magazine. My work has been published in Musings on Mothering, an anthology dedicated to motherhood, published by Mother’s Milk Books. I have also won commended in Mother’s Milk’s most recent writing competition; their latest anthology is due to be published in September 2015 anthology. My long-term aim is to write a book about my parenting journey.

Baby jogging

 

Baby Jogger UK

Ewan and Mummy on a baby jogging adventure!
Ewan and Mummy on a baby jogging adventure!

Baby jogging

Ewan is sitting comfortably in his baby jogger, his father pushing him as they speed along a canal path, sights and sounds whizzing by as they overtake other joggers, families and walkers. Ewan checks his Mummy is still running beside him, then squeals with delight as Daddy suddenly runs at top speed, the scenery falling away before him, fresh air hitting his face as he laughs hysterically. He loves being in the baby jogger. Just another typical afternoon out with his parents!

Ewan in the baby jogger (with Mummy's gloves on as weforgot his!)
Ewan in the baby jogger (with Mummy's gloves on as we forgot his!)

Running; a shared passion

My husband and I have always been very active, outdoor people, meeting on a university mountaineering trip over a decade ago, and since then walking and running up countless mountains and hills together. Richard has been a keen fell runner since his teens, having raced in dozens of mountain marathons in the UK over recent years. Fell running is a specialist kind of running, where sportspeople run or race off road in the hills and mountains. This shared passion did not stop when I found out I was pregnant; I simply listened to my body, going at a slower pace until the point it was too difficult for us to continue running together as my bump was proving too heavy for high impact sports! The third trimester of pregnancy involved long walks, swims and yoga, ensuring I retained a good level of fitness in preparation for the birth.

Exercising in the local hills, thirty-eight weeks pregnant
Exercising in the local hills, thirty-eight weeks pregnant

The new arrival

Ewan James was born in June 2010. We both fell instantly in love with our beautiful son. The early months of parenthood involved a period of adjustment, as we learnt to live with a child entirely dependent on us for survival. However, having a child has never stopped us pursuing our own passions. Our son has fit into our lifestyle as much as we have adjusted ours to meet his needs. Ewan is taken almost everywhere we go; he is very ‘elastic’ in that he accepts wherever he is, whatever we are doing, as long as he is comfortable and secure. To achieve this we practice attachment parenting, sustained breastfeeding, baby-wearing and bed-sharing, all practices which lend themselves to being in close proximity and responsive to our child.

Transporting Ewan

We usually transport Ewan in a sling, rarely using a conventional pushchair as we find them impractical for the terrain we walk on and the activities we do. Because we live in a hilly area of Derbyshire, baby-wearing is also by far the easiest way of getting about.  However, we use a specialist running pushchair whenever we go running with Ewan, as it is not advisable to run with a baby in a sling. Although I have jogged for short periods with Ewan on my back, slings are not designed for running, and are bodies would suffer with the extra weight and impact of a baby on our backs.

Buying a baby jogger

We therefore decided to buy a running buggy, so that we could still pursue our love of running, taking Ewan with us on family runs. Richard’s parents offered to buy us a pram as a newborn present, so after much research we decided to buy the Performance Baby Jogger, which fitted our needs of a lightweight pushchair specifically designed for running, with the added bonus of easily being put into and out of the car. This is great when most of the family runs we do are not from our doorstep but are further afield, due to the local terrain being unsuitable for travelling far with a pushchair.

Ewan’s first ride

A few months later, when Ewan was strong enough to sit upright in the baby jogger, we took him for his first ride, to a disused railway track a few miles from home. Fortunately he is used to being in a pushchair when Grandma takes him for walks. However, he did look surprised as we set off at a slow running pace, but soon got used to this quicker speed, settling into his new chair and surroundings, looking around him at the passing countryside.

Using the baby jogger in daily life

Since then we have taken Ewan in his baby jogger as often as possible. Sometimes we run from our doorstep around the village; we much prefer being able to pursue our hobbies locally and simply, whilst also reducing our fuel output. We have also found local canal paths and disused railway lines in the area, which are suitable for pushchairs and bikes, because they are flat and don’t have any styles, which would limit the accessibility of the footpath. We go out in all weathers, except when there’s a lot of snow on the ground, using the rain cover and thick ‘cosy toes’ cover to ensure Ewan is kept warm and dry. This was particularly useful when we were running in minus temperatures during the cold spell last winter, and in the recent April showers!

Running in April 2012 at Ladybower Reservoir
Running in April 2012 at Ladybower ReservoirRunning in the hills

Meeting our family’s needs

Ewan is fully integrated into our lives, sharing our love of exercise and being outdoors. We both much prefer to adapt our activities and lifestyles so that our son can be with us as much as possible. Richard trains for and attends a number of mountain marathons each year, events which certainly aren’t child-friendly, using the baby jogger means he can do a little of this training with his family.

Rich fell running
Rich fell running

The baby jogger certainly meets our needs as a family who love running; it means we can share this sport together instead of practising it separately. We are fortunate to live in a society that designs speciality baby equipment to meet the needs of a wide variety of families. Baby joggers are one of these niche pieces of equipment, which happen to match our lifestyle and parenting philosophy. Toddler slings are another example, fitting a small but growing area of the children’s market.

The future

Realistically, Ewan cannot yet accompany us on long fell runs in the hills and mountains, but by being with us in a baby jogger he is learning and accepting his parent’s love of running as part of his life. We anticipate that as Ewan gets older he shall be keen to join us in our activities, whether that is fell running, mountain walking or simply visiting a local nature reserve. Who knows, perhaps one day he shall even follow in his Daddy’s footsteps by doing mountain marathons. However, this shall be entirely his choice; even if he never runs as an adult, those years when he accompanied us in the baby jogger will contribute to his appreciation of exercise for health and happiness, as well as a wonderful way to experience the great outdoors and nature.

We look forward to many more years using our baby jogger with our growing family; hopefully one day a new baby will sit in the baby jogger as Ewan runs alongside it! The fact we can pursue our love of running alongside our son enhances the experience of running because we are sharing it with the person we love most in the world, our son.

Baby Jogger UK 

The wonderful Pampering Yoga morning for Mums

This article first appeared on the Nottingham Baby Fayre website on 1st April 2012; The Nottingham Baby Fayre

Also on the Yoga Home

What this class is

Pampering is the right word to describe this three-hour extended yoga session for Mums, a regular one-off Saturday event at the Yoga Home. Run once every term, three times a year, Yoga Home students who are also Mums are invited to a well deserved rest and relaxation event at the Iona School in Sneinton, an ideal venue for a few hours away from the kids. In this calming environment, in the schools kindergarden, students are led through two one and a half hour yoga sessions, broken by a short break for tea and healthy nibbles (Green and Blacks chocolate, oat crackers and homemade flapjack).  At the end of the morning students can stay for a fuddle, a shared lunch, which always includes Ameet’s delicious homemade dahl, plus lots of other scrumptious food brought in by attendees. The whole event is a wonderful combination of yoga and socialising; three rare hours of yoga, plus a chance to meet up with friends from past pregnancy and postnatal yoga classes.
Continue reading The wonderful Pampering Yoga morning for Mums

Mothering Through Breastfeeding: Part One, birth to ten months

This article was first published in La Leche League GB  ‘Breastfeeding Matters’ magazine, number 185, September/October 2011.

When I was pregnant I was asked whether I would breast or bottle-feeding. This puzzled me because there was never a question, to me breastfeeding is simply how you feed your baby. Luckily, I come from a family who support breastfeeding, including my Nanna who fed twins at a time it was ‘normal’ to bottle-feed, my Aunty who fed her children until they naturally weaned, and my mother who breastfed me and my brothers. I therefore felt supported in embarking on feeding my own baby.
Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding: Part One, birth to ten months